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Keywords:

  • epoxy composites;
  • volume shrinkage;
  • thermal properties;
  • impact strength;
  • fracture toughness

Abstract

Different amounts of multiwalled carbon tubes (MWCNTs) were incorporated into an epoxy resin based on diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A and both epoxy precursor and composite were cured with 4,4′-diamino diphenyl sulfone. Transmission and scanning electron microscopy demonstrated that the carbon nanotubes are dispersed well in the epoxy matrix. Differential scanning calorimetry measurements confirmed the decrease in overall cure by the addition of MWCNTs. A decrease in volume shrinkage of the epoxy matrix caused by the addition of MWCNTs was observed by pressure–volume–temperature measurements. Thermomechanical and dynamic mechanical analysis were performed for the MWCNT/epoxy composites, showing that the Tg was slightly affected, whereas the dimensional stability and stiffness are improved by the addition of MWCNTs. Electrical conductivity measurements of the composite samples showed that an insulator to conductor transition takes place between 0.019 and 0.037 wt % MWCNTs. The addition of MWCNTs induces an increase in both impact strength (18%) and fracture toughness (38%) of the epoxy matrix with very low filler content. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013